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September 1, 1934


JAMA. 1934;103(9):683. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750350047016

The relation of "climate" to human health and disease has intrigued both physicians and the public, at least since the writing of the chapter "Of Airs, Waters and Places" in the works of Hippocrates. Until the microbic theory began to be seriously studied, in fact, almost every discussion of disease opened with the observed relationship of the condition to season, locality, temperature or other "climatic" factors. Thus, Sydenham1 introduces one chapter by "The foregoing Winter being extremely cold, and the Frost continuing without any intermission till Spring, it thaw'd suddenly at the end of March, in the year 1665, and Inflammations of the Lungs, Pleurisies, Quinsies, and such like inflammatory Diseases, made great slaughter on a sudden, and at the same time a continual Epidemick Fever appear'd."

One of the difficulties in scientifically relating disease to climate is the somewhat vague definition of the term. Smith 2 in his recent

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